Brain and pharmaceutics

White Michelle Jean mwhite at
Wed Oct 16 19:25:20 EST 1996

On 14 Oct 1996, Stefanie A. Potthoff wrote:

> I need to know about the different effects that different
> types of psychopharmaceutics have on the brain.
> For example the effect that illegal drugs have on the brain
> (like heroin, amphetamine etc.) but also legal drugs
> like Medazepam or Diazepam (german names).
whoa!  that's alot to explain!  but maybe i can recommend a good book or
two.  "The biochemical basis of neuropharmacology" by cooper, bloom and
roth, is an excellent introductory text.  not long winded, and very
readable.  for specific drugs, you might try the pharmacologist's bible,
"the pharmacological basis of therapeutics".  it's big, it's scary, but
the index will lead you to the right page.  also, it's good for working
out with.  :)

Diazepam, a benzodiazepine, works on the GABAa receptor in the brain.
Stimulation of the GABAa receptor causes chloride influx into the neurons,
thereby hyperpolarizing it.  It's effects are inhibitory, with it's main
clinical use as a sedative-antianxiety drug.  It is also anticonvulsant.

LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide), or 'acid' is a 5-HT (serotonin)
receptor agonist.  It is rather potent, and acts at many of the different
5-HT receptors.  There doesn't seem to be any definitive reason as to why
it causes hallucinations. As an aside, it was discovered, accidentally, by
Albert Hoffman in 1943, a chemist, whom I believ was working with glue, or
something like that.  He apparently ingested a bit, and had quite an
interesting trip home that day (no pun intended). 

Hope this tidbit helps!

mwhite at

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